Learn From Those Who Have Gone Before

Wise people often say we should learn from history.

There have been two other Commonwealth countries that have introduced direct registration into their domain spaces in recent times, and the evidence is in that they have been resounding failures (only benefiting a few).

When it comes to introducing direct registrations into the .au namespace, I think it is fairly obvious that there are there are 4 camps.

  • A small group who love the idea of direct registrations being introduced because they stand to benefit in some way;
  • A small group who dislike the idea because they consider it unnecessary and it is going to cost them in many ways (not just financially);
  • A small group who are on the fence – they see positives and negatives;
  • A very large group (of registrants) who wouldn’t even have a clue what is going on because they haven’t been informed or consulted.

It’s Not Just Me Saying It!

I know some of you are saying “here he goes again”, but rather than me repeat myself, have a read what the respected industry journalist Kieren McCarthy wrote in “The Register” last week.

He was commenting on some of the negative effects of the introduction of direct registration into the UK a couple of years ago – as well as a few shenanigans that have taken place along the way. (Thanks to a pal of mine of mine who sent me the article link).

For those that don’t know, Nominet is to the UK what auDA is to Australia.

Key quotes from the article

Nominet pushed for the creation of new .uk domains over two years ago, despite strong objections from the internet community. It stands to make millions a year from the scheme.

Nominet decided it wanted to scrap its long-standing third-level domain approach and offer straight .uk domains back in 2013, in large part because overall .uk registrations were slowing and there was greater market competition from hundreds of new internet extensions.

Not everyone was convinced it was a good idea: adding .uk domains would undermine the existing system for no good reason, critics warned. People were happy with their .co.uk names. But Nominet’s executives, seeing an opportunity to bring in millions of pounds of new revenue every year (and boost their performance related bonuses), pushed ahead regardless.

Opposition to the plans meant it couldn’t get past a vote, however, mostly because of the concern that millions of companies (there are over 13 million UK domains) could have the .uk version of their existing .co.uk name registered by someone else, creating a massive cybersquatting and branding problem. And so Nominet pushed through a policy compromise: anyone with a .co.uk domain would be allowed to claim the same name as a .uk address for two years, for free.

This is far from the first time that Nominet has been accused of feathering its own nest, and that of its Board members’. In June this year, we pointed out how Nominet’s new registration program for .uk domains that had gone unclaimed (yes those unwanted .uk domains again) has not only been purposefully skewed to benefit registrars over UK consumers, but also designed to disproportionately benefit the largest registrars.


Almost four years ago to the day, I wrote “Trials And Tribulations Of .UK”. It’s worth a read!

Ned O’Meara – 19th September 2019


Disclaimer

I have fought hard against direct registration over many years. This includes being a dissenting member of 2015 Names Panel. I was also the initial Demand Class representative of the PRP until I briefly became an auDA Director. But I also believe in proper process, and if this happens – including all registrants being properly notified – (and I’m on the losing side), then I accept that outcome.

5 thoughts on “Learn From Those Who Have Gone Before

  • Avatar
    September 20, 2019 at 5:00 am
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    Is auDA going to make the direct reg .au FREE like the .UK and .SG or are they going to keep ripping off .au domain name registrant Consumers, Registrars and Resellers with overinflated fake Wholesale price fixing mechanisms that benefit only auDA, Registry and hand full of Registrars and Resellers the Board and CEO deemed fit to profit out of
    https://www.accc.gov.au/business/anti-competitive-behaviour/imposing-minimum-resale-prices
    https://www.afr.com/rear-window/audas-share-of-au-domain-name-fees-raises-eyebrows-20180704-h127ui

    https://www.smh.com.au/business/small-business/millions-of-australian-domain-name-owners-ripped-off-20170807-gxqpzs.html
    https://www.channelnews.com.au/australians-said-to-have-been-ripped-off-on-domain-names-since-2008/
    https://www.accc.gov.au/business/anti-competitive-behaviour/cartels
    https://www.accc.gov.au/business/anti-competitive-behaviour/unconscionable-conduct
    https://www.accc.gov.au/business/anti-competitive-behaviour/misuse-of-market-power

    FREE .sg domain names https://www.exabytes.sg/domains/sgdomain-ipos
    FREE .sg domain names https://www.vodien.com/sg-free-domains/www.vodien.com
    FREE .uk domain names https://www.dntrade.com.au/threads/nominet-now-giving-away-uk-domains.11644/

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  • Scott.L
    September 20, 2019 at 1:43 pm
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    Funny how the majority of complaints against Nominet were targeted at their ever increasing salaries – Nominet and Registrars lining their pockets, and staff bonuses and director fees were going up.

    auDA August Minutes – Staff bonuses and director fees increasing. I wonder if that Controversial CEO got a Bonus?

    I personally do not have a problem paying high performing staff with bonuses and incentives, but those in management who corrupted the organisation with a culture of Nepotism should not be getting one red cent.

    Why did auDA BLOCK OUT all the BONUSES? Particularly given they are a not for profit public company.

    Redacted Bonuses

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  • Avatar
    September 20, 2019 at 9:45 pm
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    Thanks for highlighting those Board Minutes, Scott.

    While the considerable number of redactions sits uneasily with me, the parts that really caught my interest were the numerous comments by Erhan Karabardak.

    He frets over a number of “threats” to .au including .com and .co. Show me the figures and rationale on this.

    He worries about the reduction of new creates. This is a global trend as ccTLDs mature and move from growth to consolidation. Besides, auDA needs to provide a stable and reputable namespace and not worry about growth per year of x%.

    He said DoCA was factually incorrect, misleading and had made unjustified threats. (BTW the Minutes also blame DoCA for the delay in “go live”)
    I’m sure those in Canberra were impressed with these comments.

    He pushed hard to jam through new licensing rules without a public interest test.
    Foolhardy. Desperate.

    I read all of this as the words of someone who desperately wants to leave a legacy other than the horrible trainwreck that is auDA and who speaks with the urgency of someone who either expected or promised certain achievements that have now proven impossible.

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  • Avatar
    September 21, 2019 at 5:53 am
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    Time and tide will ultimately reveal what Karabardak achieved during his reign as one of the string pullers at auDA. Not being gifted with exceptional lawyerly skills, this is a man who got onto the Board with a couple of his chums so he could seek personal revenge and settle scores.

    Exhibit 1 is the costly PPB investigation into certain parties from those of us who went before. Silence has been golden about that since the internet community was gravely informed that allegations of alleged fraud and misconduct had been referred to police. What did this cost in terms of fees; and whose rubbish bin did it end up in at said Victoria Police? What toll did this take on people wrongly accused or smeared? Where are the apologies?

    Nobody should be fooled either by self-serving notations in recent Board Minutes relating to other matters. This is classic Karabardak in self-preservation mode. He’s been one of the constant helmsmen during this chaotic voyage.

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  • Avatar
    September 22, 2019 at 6:37 am
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    Not many businesses big or small actually use .nz. That’s the reality check. Many were reserved or registered initially out of fear, but have now been let go. Same same .UK.

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